The world we live in is undeniably complex and filled with wonders that we may never fully understand. This concept of complexity is nothing new, but when people take pride in being knowledgeable and yet prefer simplicity, it can cause a certain chaos to erupt within our own minds.
We like to listen to people whose beliefs align with our own and when something arises that questions or challenges what we believe, we often find ourselves at a fork in the road. Do we put blinders on or offer an ear to the different viewpoint?
I’d have to say that the Food Babe is one who definietly wears blinders.
The Food Babe
The Food Babe, aka Vani Hari, is a blogger, author and activist who is known for her criticism of the food industry. She has credited herself with Kraft, Chick-fil-a, Starbucks, Chipotle and Subway reconsidering or changing ingredients in their products.
So what does the Food Babe do? Well, she reads food ingredient labels and finds ingredients that she either can’t pronounce or are in other products that are not food and labels them as “toxins.” She has about 88,000 Twitter followers and almost 950,000 Facebook fans. Her devoted supporters are called the “Food Babe Army.”
Does credibility matter?
How people assign credibility is a fascinating and terrifying phenomena. Does the level of education one has matter? The amount of experience in a certain field? A combination of the two?
If either were the case I wouldn’t be writing this post. Hari is not a nutritionist, dietician, doctor or food scientist. She has a degree in computer science. Yes, you read that right. Hari has no formal education in food science, yet she’s making tons of money telling people that their food is allegedly filled with toxins that are making them unhealthy.
Why is it that an “army” of people believe her every word when she has no credibility whatsoever?
Maybe people follow her because they find her weight loss story relatable and inspiring. Personally, I think one reason she’s become so popular is because people are always looking for something to blame their personal problems on and the way that Hari is attacking the food industry as the culprit for her former health issues provides people with an easy scapegoat.
Fear is an incredibly effective tool when persuading an audience to buy into an idea or product. From a marketing standpoint, Hari is arguably brilliant, but do you really want to fall victim to someone’s marketing strategy when they don’t have your best interest in mind?
Think about it. Hari is relying on the consumers’ lack of knowledge and familiarity with the food industry in hopes that they will be receptive to her outrageous claims and become part of her army of uneducated followers.
I don’t necessarily blame anyone that uses fear as a tactic to get what they want because it is so effective, but I think it’s more important to share a story that is true and have your audiences’ best interest at heart because people are putting their trust in your product or idea and should know the full truth that they are investing in.
Although I don’t agree with her scare tactics, I have to give her props for being so creative. The allegations and claims that she declares as fact are something I would only think a screen-play writer to conjure up.
Here are just a few things she’s claimed: microwaves destroy food nutrients, the air in the front of the airplane is better because that’s where the pilots sit, no chemicals of any amount should be in our food (last time I checked water was a chemical and we sort of need that to survive) and food companies “sneak” untested/unapproved ingredients into food.
When I first heard of this woman and her far-fetched ideas, I asked myself if this was real life because I couldn’t imagine her to be anything but a joke. Then when I learned she had so many followers I was at first in a bit of shock, but it’s really nothing new.
When I do a search for recent news about the Food Babe, the majority of the articles that appear are ones not in her favor and I’m relieved to see that people are finally starting to question her credibility and ask for proof to back up her allegations.
When people share information without any factual backing and become as popular as the Food Babe, they are bound to be brought off their high horse eventually and it has become apparent that the Food Babe will no longer be on her horse for much longer. She’s a fad that is fading out.
The only thing I really ask of anyone who eats is that as you navigate through the sea of opinions about the food and agriculture industry, and honestly any industry out there, is that you not only hear what people are saying, but listen. Listen and understand what they are really saying and don’t wear blinders. Be aware of their agenda, whether it be in your best interest or not and make educated decisions and base your opinions off factual information.